Landing at Madeira Airport; Portuguese rider wins stage Dakar Rally; Paul do Mar ancient vereda walk; Portugal first commercial customer in Europe of 100% electric vehicle; Portuguese strawberry industry; Portugal’s newest museum? Côa Valley; Portugal bargain for travellers; Rise in Emigration: a bad thing?; 2010: best year for Portuguese Tourism

Portugal & Madeira news from Paul Abbiati:

Madeira Airport: exciting landing

Youtube video:

Dakar Rally: Portuguese Gonçalves wins stage 5

Yahoo/Eurosport report:

“Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves won the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally as Spain’s Marc Coma retained the overall motorbikes lead in Chile.

BMW rider Goncalves was the quickest over a 423km special stage between Calama and Iquique, finishing two minutes and 17 seconds ahead of local favourite Francisco Lopez (Aprilia).”


Calheta walks: Paul do Mar – Fajã da Ovelha

Translation from Diario newspaper magazine ‘Mais’ last Sunday:

“Our first suggestion for a walk through the natural beauty that the Madeira region has to offer is the ancient ‘vereda’ (worker’s path) hand built out of cobblestones called the Ladeira dos Zimbreiros. It connects Fajã da Ovelha to Paul do Mar and zig zags from the Ribeira das Galinhas (stream) of Paul do Mar along the coast up to Fajã da Ovelha 350 metres above.

Our first suggestion takes you to Calheta, to walk the ancient path “vereda”, which, for many, many years, was one of the few connections between the villages of Fajã da Ovelha and Paul do Mar. We are talking about “Ladeira dos Zimbreiros”, a very old coblestone path, which zig zags down the slope until the Ribeira das Galinhas estuary, right there by the sea.

Paúl do Mar one of the hottest and sunniest villages in Madeira

The surface is in good condition and the areas that could present some danger are protected. Nevertheless, a walking stick is recommended because support is needed when descending and to give knees some rest.”

Link to article & photogallery:

Portuguese consortium first commercial customer in Europe of the world’s first mass-market 100% electric vehicle

Portugal News:

“Portuguese electric mobility consortium MOBI.E has taken delivery of nine Nissan Leafs, becoming the first commercial customer in Europe of the world’s first mass-market 100% electric vehicle, Nissan have said in a statement.”

“Portugal brings together all the essential conditions to become the first Living Lab for electric vehicles”, said João Dias, on behalf of MOBI.E.”

The start of a zero-emission mobility era in Portugal

“This marks the start of a zero-emission mobility era in Portugal, one of the first countries in the world to adopt a nationwide electric mobility policy. We are honoured to be part of this new chapter in Portugal’s history with the 100% electric Nissan Leaf.”

“Nissan Leaf, which was recently awarded European Car of the Year 2011, is powered by a compact electric motor, which drives the front wheels.

Nissan LEAF “Super” Black at the Drive Electric Tour test drive in Santa Monica, California

The AC motor develops a power output of 109PS and 280Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 145km/h.

The electric motor is powered by a Nissan-developed laminated lithium-ion battery with an output of more than 90kW. The car has a range of 175km (New European Driving Cycle) between charges, making it a practical proposition for many urban drivers.”

“The Leaf’s battery will have a 175kilometre range before needing to be recharged, which can be done either at home or at electric recharging stations.

A slow charge will take between six to eight hours for a full charge (home charging dock must be installed for use at homes), with quick charging units at service stations lasting between twenty and thirty minutes to charge the Leaf to 80% of its capacity.

The vehicle’s navigation system will point out all charging stations nearby and also the driving radius within range under the current state of charge.

The 24kWh lithium-ion battery is expected to last between five to ten years before having to be replaced with a new one.

The cost remains unknown.”


Portuguese strawberry industry thriving

Portugal News:

“Strawberries grown during the winter months in Southern Portugal have not been enough to satisfy the New Year orders from colder countries such as the UK, Holland, Switzerland and Russia.”

“The season for Algarve strawberries, considered the most expensive in the world, starts in December and continues until June.

..All fruit that can be ripened and is of good quality in winter has a guaranteed market.

Strawberries, raspberries, figs, blackberries, mangos and even snails are some of the products that he believes can sell out in Northern European countries, which despite having the technology do not have the natural light needed for ripening.”

“Fruit that we produce out of season fills gaps in the market and so it is an anti-crisis business,” he said.

Strawberries in the Algarve are grown through the hydroponic method in raised beds out of the soil in pine bark or coconut fibre which are fed with nutrient rich water.

The Algarve was the first region in the country for this method of production to be used, which produces 20% to 40% more fruit than soil production.

Around 900 tonnes of strawberries are produced in the region each year using this method, only 25% of which is consumed in Portugal.

The remaining 75% is packaged and exported to Northern Europe, where it finds its way onto Sainsbury’s supermarket shelves, among others.”


2010: best year for Portuguese Tourism

Portugal News article:

2010: best year for Portuguese Tourism in terms of revenue


Portugal’s second largest museum: the Museum of Art and Archeology of the Côa Valley

James’ Europe Travel Blog:

“Portugal’s second largest museum The Museum of Art and Archeology of the Côa Valley was inaugurated in Summer 2010 to hold the cultural artifacts of Côa valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 6.600 square-meter museum appears to be a half-buried monolith that looks like a big ‘ol hunk of shale sticking out of the landscape.

Bargain that Portugal is for the traveller

Just to give you an idea of the bargain that Portugal is for the traveler, entry to the museum is 5 euros, whereas entry to the museum plus a tour of the archeological park comes to 12 euros.”


The Côa Valley Paleolithic Art site is one of the largest known open air sites of Paleolithic art

“In the late 1980s, the engravings were discovered in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, in northeastern Portugal. The site in situated in the valley of the Côa River, and comprises thousands of engraved drawings of horses, bovines and other animal, human and abstract figures, dated from 22,000 to 10,000 years BCE. Since 1995 a team of archaeologists have been studying and cataloging this pre-historical complex and a park was created to receive visitors.”

Source: Wikipedia

Rise in Emigration from Portugal: a bad thing?

Guardian article:

“The rise in emigration might just herald the emergence of a more self-sufficient, curious, and less spoiled generation..”

View from the balcony off a little dorm in The Lisbon Lounge Hostel, in the Baixa District

5 thoughts on “Landing at Madeira Airport; Portuguese rider wins stage Dakar Rally; Paul do Mar ancient vereda walk; Portugal first commercial customer in Europe of 100% electric vehicle; Portuguese strawberry industry; Portugal’s newest museum? Côa Valley; Portugal bargain for travellers; Rise in Emigration: a bad thing?; 2010: best year for Portuguese Tourism”

  1. Portugal

    As noted, each euro area periphery country faces a distinct set of challenges. So Portugal may not be Greece, but the challenges it faces are more similar to those of Greece (if not quite as dramatic) than those of Spain and Ireland. Portugal’s gross general government debt-to-GDP ratio is likely to be around 80% this year, not far from the EA average and it largely avoided the housing bubbles and banking sector excesses of Ireland (or Spain). However, the government deficit remains stubbornly high and the private sector is highly indebted, to the point that Portugal has the largest negative net foreign investment position in the EA (at minus 113% of GDP at the end of 2009 — see Figure 5). In times of crisis, the debt of private institutions deemed systemically important or too politically well-connected to fail tends to become public debt. The assets, liabilities and funding needs of the private sector must therefore always be considered carefully before a judgment can be reached as regards the current and likely future health of the public finances.

    Despite the fiscal austerity package approved in May 2010, the Portuguese central government budget deficit had not yet shown meaningful signs of improvement at the end of November 2010. The year-end target of 7.3% for the general government deficit-to-GDP ratio may only be reached through an accounting trick.41 Another round of adjustment measures is planned for 2011, amounting to 3% of GDP on top of a 1% of GDP adjustment for 2011 already included in the May 2010 fiscal package. However, this year’s experience shows that implementation risks remain high.

    Moreover, Portugal also has one of the EA’s highest levels of gross debt in the non-financial private sector, close to 250% of GDP. Net external debt is high and a majority of Portuguese sovereign debt is held abroad (see Figure 18). Unlike in Spain or Ireland, the private deleveraging process does not seem to have started. The current account deficit is still very high at 9½ % of GDP in Q3 2010 — almost unchanged from pre-crisis levels, so there is no evidence either that the country in the aggregate is beginning to live within its means or that it is shifting resources from the non-traded towards the tradable sectors.

    Growth in Portugal this year has been less weak than in the other EA periphery countries (Real GDP likely expanded by 1.6% in 2010) and has not fallen short of expectations yet. However, this is at least in part because Portugal has engaged in less fiscal tightening than the other EA periphery nations. The growth outlook is poor. Portugal has suffered from low growth for many years.

    Additional tightening measures, the need for private sector deleveraging and tight credit as a result of funding difficulties for the Portuguese banks imply that growth is highly likely to plunge again. A recession in 2011 looks likely. The lack of economic growth and the limited impact of past fiscal tightening measures to lead to a meaningful reduction in the general government budget deficit also imply that there is a substantial risk that deficit targets for 2011 and beyond will not be met.

    Yields of Portuguese sovereign debt have already risen markedly. At such high interest rates and with low growth, we consider Portugal to be quietly insolvent and likely to access the EFSF soon.

    • even the Wall Street Jornal gets it wrong sometimes, as last weeks issue by the Portuguese Treasury was oversubscribed 2.6 times.

      Even so, with long term bond rates around the 7.3% mark, and previous austerity measures having no real effect on the deficit, outside intervention is unavoidable. That in turn will bring down the PS government (the PSD will see to that, and they already have a coalition partner in tow). That will lead to further cuts in public spending, as already announced by Passos Coelho, leader of the PSD.

      Happy days …. but not this year!

  2. Martin hope you read my bit in the blog about DIY builders here, one there tricks charging you for a estermate and not hear from them again. Finding good builders is not easy, best ones snaoed up. Think I said before renting best move at the moment, till relility come here one house prices. Hope things going well with you other wise.


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